How Divorce Can "Literally" Break Your Heart

Posted on: 25 February 2015

The emotional toll of going through divorce is usually described as heartbreaking, but the process can also damage your physical heart. This can happen via several channels such as:

Chronic Stress

Going through divorce can leave you with a feeling of helplessness. Apart from the emotional stress, the feeling that you can't cope with the daily practicalities of life can also be devastating. This is usually the case when you have to handle household duties that your partner used to take care of, such as mowing the lawn.

According to WebMD, interferes with your heart's normal handling of blood clotting and raises your blood pressure. This effectively increases your chance of having a heart attack or developing other cardiovascular diseases.

Weight Gain

Divorce is also linked to weight gain, and although both sexes suffer, it is the men who seem to gain the most weight after parting ways with their partners. You are likely to put on more pounds because you may:

  • Stop going to the gym
  • Become a couch potato
  • Live on takeouts

As the American Heart Association puts it, being overweight can increase your blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure and risk of heart attack, so proper cardiac care is crucial.

Poor Ways of Coping

People have different ways of coping with divorce, but your chosen method may land you in more trouble. For example, resorting to narcotics or excessive use of alcohol clearly puts your health in danger. Too much alcohol is anything above two drinks for men and one drink for women per day. Such drinking can trigger cardiomyopathy (a progressive heart disease that thickens the heart tissues) and arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms).

You can prevent all these damaging by:

  • Dealing with the practical things – This involves getting a good lawyer to handle the legal sides of things and reduce your worry in that department. You may also need a financial professional to help with mortgages, shares, insurance, asset division and similar issues.
  • Making a conscious decision to watch your health – such as eating healthy foods and regularly exercising.
  • Getting people to lean on – such as friends, colleagues or support groups.

If you are going through divorce, do it in a way that does not hurt your heart, or general health. For example, you can involve a network of professionals who can help you go through your divorce without a permanent physical damage to your heart. Such professionals include counselors and accountants, among others. In general, you increase your chances of maintaining good health throughout your divorce if you make a conscious decision to do it.